Christian Man Removed From UK Flight After Prayer Text Mistaken for ISIS Message

An easyJet aircraft takes-off past Air France plane tails at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport, near Paris, September 16, 2014.
An easyJet aircraft takes-off past Air France plane tails at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport, near Paris, September 16, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

A Christian man is claiming he was removed from an EasyJet flight this week for sending a text message about prayer that was mistaken for an ISIS message.

The incident occurred this week on an EasyJet flight traveling from Luton, England to Amsterdam when Laolu Opebiyi was asked to deboard the aircraft for a message he sent using WhatsApp.

Another traveler had reportedly been looking over the 40-year-old Christian's shoulder before take-off and noticed he had sent a message regarding "prayer" in an "Isi Men" WhatsApp group.

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While the group was actually a men's Christian Bible study, the traveler evidently mistook it as belonging to the Islamic State terrorist organization.

The Guardian reports that several passengers left the plane, and then police officers also demanded that Opebiyi leave the aircraft for further questioning. He was able to catch a different flight to Amsterdam four hours later after he allowed airport security to access his phone and read his WhatsApp messages.

Opebiyi, who is originally from Nigeria, told the media outlet that he doesn't think anyone should be judged based on their religion.

"That guy doesn't know me and within two minutes he's judging me," he said. "Even if I was a Muslim, it was pretty unfair the way I was treated. I don't think anyone, irrespective of their religion should be treated in such a way."

"If we keep on giving into this kind of bigotry and irrational fear, I dare say that the terrorists will have achieved their aim," the Christian man added.

Since the Islamic State terror group gained power, there have been reported cases of alleged discrimination against Muslims on airlines due to fear of a terror attack.

United Airlines issued an apology in 2015 after 31-year-old Muslim passenger Tahera Ahmad claims she was discriminated against on a flight from Chicago, Illinois to Washington, D.C.

The incident took place on a Shuttle America flight in June lasy year, when Ahmad claims a flight attendant refused to serve her an unopened can of soda, suggesting that passengers could use the weighted can as a weapon. Shuttle America is a feeder airline for United.

Ahmad wrote in a Facebook post that she was in "tears of humiliation" by the flight attendant's comments, especially because the employee gave the man sitting next to her an unopened bottle of beer.

United released a statement apologizing for providing Ahmad with poor customer service, but it did not address the alleged policy on open beverages.

"Ms. Ahmad was our customer and we apologize to her for what occurred on the flight," the airline said in a press release, as reported by CNN.

"After investigating this matter, United has ensured that the flight attendant, a Shuttle America employee, will no longer serve United customers," the company added.

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